Joris Voetangel, by Francis Paid
'Joris Voetangel weet er raad op' (Amsterdamsch Dagblad, 12 July 1945).

Francis Paid was one of several artists who tried their luck with creating newspaper comics in the post-war Netherlands, but who quickly faded into obscurity. As part of Piet van Elk's Stripfilm Studio, his best known contribution to Dutch comic history was the the broad-shouldered hero 'Joris Voetangel' (1945-1946).

Toonder Studio's
He was born in 1925 in Amersfoort as Frans Piët. Prior to 1943 he was apparently employed by Nederland Film, an animation studio under Nazi supervision. Together with his studio colleagues Hans G. Kresse and Hans Keuris, he moved over to Marten Toonder's studio in Amsterdam in May 1943. There, the team stayed throughout the rest of the war, working on film projects like the unfinished 'Tom Puss. Das Geheimnis der Grotte'. According to the third installment of Jan-Willem de Vries' magazine series about the history of the Toonder Studio's, the co-workers were in good spirit most of the time. Piët apparently did a good impression of Adolf Hitler.

Stripfilm Studio
After the Liberation, Amsterdam-based artist Piet van Elk took inspiration from the Toonder Studio's and launched his own Stripfilm Studio, along with co-workers Siem Praamsma and Albert van Beek. The animation projects did not get off the ground and the studio then turned to creating comic strips for Dutch newspapers instead, completing the team with Hans Nije, Henk Albers, Willy Kuyper and finally, Frans Piët. For the occasion he switched to the pen names Francis Paid or Charles F. C. Paid, either to avoid confusion with his namesake, the other Frans Piët who was by then already well known as the artist of 'Sjors van de Rebellenclub', or to have a more American-sounding name.

Joris Voetangel
While the other Stripfilm artists developed jolly comic strips with round, comical characters, Francis Paid sought his inspiration elsewhere. His muscular secret service agent 'Joris Voetangel' was made in the tradition of Alfred Mazure's hard boiled detective 'Dick Bos', and used his brains and brawn to fight criminals. Written by Joop Elenbaas, 'Joris Voetangel weet er raad op' was a product of its time and the post-war Americanization. The text comic presents naïve depictions of American cars and buildings, while the characters still have typically Dutch names, with protagonist Joris Voetangel and commissioner Bolkewroeter as main examples. The strip ran for 68 episodes in the local newspaper Amsterdamsch Dagblad from June 1945 on, until it was replaced by Phiny Dick's 'Olle Kapoen'. Only the first 54 strips were eventually collected in a 1946 booklet by N.V. Strips i.o. (Boom-Ruygrok) in Haarlem. A second book, 'In het Hol van de Leeuw', was announced but never published.

Most likely the first 'Joris Voetangel' story was already serialized before Paid's association with Van Elk, as he didn't join the Stripfilm team until early 1946. The second 'Joris Voetangel' story was part of Stripfilm's portfolio, though. 'De Jacht door New York' was distributed through the Persbelangen syndicate to papers like Nieuw Noordhollandsch Dagblad, Nieuwe Dordtsche Courant and Leidsche Courant from October 1946 on. The artist had apparently lost track of his numeration, perhaps because of the interlude between the two stories, and simply began counting from strip 200 onwards. Piët left the Stripfilm Studio after about a year.

Further comics career
Between April and December 1948 he drew the adventures of the equally heroic 'Frank Jones' for Wim Meuldijk's Ketelbinkie-Krant. Around that same period he allegedly also helped his former Stripfilm colleague Albert van Beek with the gag strip 'Baron Bluf en Bartholomeus' (1948-1949) for the Toonder Studio's. It marked the end of Francis Paid's short stint as a comic artist, of which he was not particularly proud. Later in life he refused to talk about his forays into this so-called "inferior" art form. Frans Piët continued his career at the local newspaper Zandvoortse Courant, of which he eventually became editor-in-chief in the 1970s. He passed away in 1996.

Dutch comics collector and Stripfilm connaisseur Ernst Slinger tracked down all the episodes of 'Joris Voetangel', and is compiling them in an upcoming collector's edition, set to be released in 2020.

Joris Voetangel, by Francis Paid

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